AmiciWalter & Patty Berglund, sitting in a tree … gazing at birds? Well, after spending too much of his life in awe of the woman he loves (who doesn’t really love him back/or does she?), Walter is, in fact, not only bird gazing, he’s trying to save them (one in particular for starters) but pretty much all wildlife from the dangers of overpopulation, among other things (i.e., cats).
Patty, a former basketball star (once and for too long obsessed with Walter’s best friend, Richard, a wannabe then finally rock star), is a woman caught betwixt and between … well, life. Her life, to be more exact, because she’s complicated it with A) Walter … eventually B) Richard … and C) she’s had two kids along the way to add to life’s maze she’s trying to find her way out of.
Franzen’s Freedom is a humor-filled adventure into and with the lives of the Berglunds, some of their extended family and closest friends. The stories cover much ground and time, but never at a lapse for entertaining details and/or day-to-day intrigue. Franzen touches on and then engages both liberal and conservative dynamics (overpopulation, the war in Iraq, wildlife preservation, strip mining … you name it) and his characters are either involved in them or have strong opinions about them.
In the end, I typecast the author as just another curmudgeon (God bless him) … and his wonderful novel as a lot of complaining about what seems so obvious it should be smacking us across the chops six times a day: Freedom has a lot more to do with accepting oneself than pursuing what one thinks Freedom might be.
Big ups to Mr. Franzen on his novel; among my very top reads of 2011 ... but if this baby gets a national book nomination, so should Benjamin Whitmer's Pike.
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest ... big fans of Noomi Rapace and Michael Nyqvist and the Stieg Larsson Millenium Series, we were front and center for the final in the film versions of the trilogy. The Principessa Ann Marie liked it a little more than I did, but we both thought it was the weakest of the three. Still worth the price, however ... because how can you see the first two without seeing the finale? Both stars shine in this Swedish thriller.
The Kids Are Alright ... fun movie we got to see On Demand. I’m a Julianne Moore stalker (those freckles ... good Lord, those freckles) and Ann Marie has the hots for Marc Ruffalo so there was no way we weren’t going to watch this. It was fine and fun and Annette Benning was especially good as the “gorilla of the family” ... fun stuff. I’ve always had Ruffalo in mind when writing (as characters in a book to film fantasy ... I reserve fat actors for my fantasies about being connected).
And on the Political front ...
Republicans threaten to keep tax breaks for the slugs (middle class and lower) out of bounds ... while cutting off unemployment benefits? Why do they do this, yous ask? Well, we don’t claim to be wizards or anything that knowledgeable about the mystical, but the fact we (slugs, etc.) continue to vote for a party that had the power and did nothing with it (Democrats) or a party that smiles while it pisses on the slugs (Republicans) instead of a few parties that actually speak to slug concerns (Green/Independent, socialist, communist, etc.), well, we get what we voted for -- the shaft.
All TK hopes is that the next grouping of suddenly unemployed and homeless breadwinners who think it best to kill their families first, then themselves, think harder and go kill a few of those 2%’ers who Republicans insist need more of a tax break before or instead of killing themselves (but they should definitely leave their other family members alone). Surely yous remember the 2%’ers; the ones we slugs had to bail out so they could reward themselves with “record breaking” bonuses for bankrupting their companies and the economy. The funny thing is, it was Republicans who started bailouts under Bush (AIG) and Democrats under Obama (you name them, they bailed them out) who put them on steroids and neither party bothered to worry about the jobs of those they took the money from.
Sounds like a call for armed insurrection to me ...
Uncle Joe Scarborough ... My wife has dreams about Joe showing up to the house in a raincoat and then asking her if she would mind washing his clothes. Oy vey ... I kind of like Joe (sometimes--when he’s honest about his party of choice) but especially here, I like him ... where he advises his party of choice to grow a pair (somebody say “man up”?) and tell Sarah Palin to take a hike.
Scarborough on Palin ...